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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

188        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

and everything was changed.    New times called for a new
education.

The work of educational reconstruction was begun by Luther
at once. The Diet of Worms, which marked the final severance
of the German Church from Rome, was held in 1521. He immedi-
ately began to translate the Bible into German as a basis for the
Protestant faith, and in the following year published his version
of the New Testament. In 1524 he gave a carefully reasoned
statement on his views on education in a Letter to the Burgomasters
and Councillors of all towns in German lands > urging the Establish-
ment and Maintenance of Christian Schools. A few years later he
wrote two Catechisms ; a Larger and a Smaller, for purposes of
instruction, and preached a notable Discourse on the Duty of
sending Children to School, in which he dwelt on the State's obliga-
tion to provide schools and compel attendance at them, if necessary.
But Luther did not confine himself to telling other people what to
do. All through his life he took a keen interest in educational
work. Not only did he help in the founding of schools, especially
schools for girls, but his influence is discernible, directly or in-
directly, in the school ordinances which commonly formed part
of the regulations issued for the government of the Protestant
churches of Germany.

Scanty as were Luther's formal deliverances on education, they
presented the reformer's ideals in a large-minded way, and stimu-
lated the development of education, not only among the Germans
to whom they were primarily addressed, but in the other countries
which had broken away from Rome. The assumption on which
he proceeded was that the new Church should take over the
educational work of the old. A proper knowledge of the ancient
languages was essential for the right understanding of the Bible,
and therefore necessary for the maintenance of the new doctrines.
But while his prime concern was with the promotion of religion
through education, he saw clearly that there were wider interests
involved. Even if there were neither soul, nor heaven nor hell, he
said, and only secular affairs had to be considered, there would
still be need of good schools for both boys and girls, so that there
might be men to govern the country well, and women to look
after their household well. The prosperity of a city, he .said
in another passage, does not consist in great treasures, strong
walls, and fine houses, but in clever, capable, wise, honourable,